NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) — Male-dominated professions like the fire service continue to face a significant gender gap. Though many departments started hiring women decades ago, it’s still rare to find more than one woman at a department.
Lacie Hewlett has worked in the fire service for more than a decade.
When she joined the Rogers Fire Department in 2004, there were nearly one hundred firefighters and none of them were women.
“In the beginning, it was very intimidating,” Hewlett said. “I knew there were going to be people who did not want to work with me.”
Less than four-percent of firefighters nationwide are women.
The largely all male environment has at times fostered discrimination. More than half of the women firefighters surveyed nationwide report feeling shunned or isolated, according to data. 43-percent said they experienced verbal harassment.
“I feel like these days may be a little better for the females who are coming on, which is a good thing,” Hewlett said.
Shattering stereotypes and taking on challenges, all to prove women can do the job.
“I think that eventually maybe gender will be a thing of the past,” Hewlett said. “Maybe race and it all will be behind us and everyone will be just looked at by what they do and how they do things. That’s my hope.”
You can learn more about the Rogers Fire Department here.